Minister Wuite addressing attendees at the follow-up consultation.
PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Jorien Wuite hosted a follow-up stakeholders’ consultation session on February 23 to report on the progress of the execution of the Ministry’s Resiliency Plan (MRP). During the meeting, stakeholders received an update from the Ministry on the progress made in securing funding for priorities via the World Bank with money made available from the Netherlands.
Ongoing meetings continue to be held between the Ministry and World Bank representatives in an effort to complete St. Maarten’s National Recovery Plan and prioritise projects that focus on recovery, it was stated in a press release.
The Ministry has submitted “the highest priorities” for immediate funding to a value of approximately 1.4 million guilders for urgent school repairs, support for mental and overall wellbeing, retraining and vocational programmes, urgent repairs for Fort Amsterdam and the temporary location of the library, the release said.
During the meeting, the Minister highlighted some of the presentations received in individual consultation meetings with stakeholders. The Seventh-Day Adventist School, St. Maarten Academy, Milton Peters College, Sundial School, Catholic school boards and Philipsburg Jubilee Library were highlighted for the progressiveness of their plans for more resilient institutions that fit 21st century learning and a need for re-zoning priorities to alleviate the concentration of schools in one area.
Wuite also gave an update regarding the disbursement of government’s insurance policy via NAGICO.
Currently all institutions that fall under the Ministry are insured under one Government umbrella policy. While this may lead to lower insurance premiums, the Minister is concerned about the length of time the disbursement of funds is taking. She is worried that institutions may not have sufficient time to make necessary repairs before the next hurricane season.
Wuite has presented an advice to the Council of Ministers requesting permission to look into the possibilities of institutions having their own insurance policies.
“This would especially be helpful to the institutions that own their buildings, as a speedier pay-out process can lead to a faster repair or rebuilding of damage,” it was stated in the release. “The Minister intends to start talks with the relevant groups this week to further explore options the St. Maarten Government and the Ministry of ECYS in particular may have.”
Wuite ended the meeting by assuring those present that communication and further consultations would continue between the stakeholders and the Ministry.
In the meantime, the MRP was formulated in collaboration with UNICEF representatives, ECYS Ministry Policy Department Heads and the Staff Bureau’s policy advisor, in response to the devastation caused by hurricane Irma.
Its primary objectives are to establish a foundation for a sustainable recovery plan and to improve disaster responsiveness before, during and after disasters in the education, culture, youth and sport sector. This document provides a roadmap for the Ministry on the way forward.
The first follow-up consultation session was held on January 15.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/74341-wuite-updates-stakeholders-on-ministry-s-resiliency-plan